Camper Van Equipped With Solar And Battery Storage

Traveling Troy outfitted his Astro Van with a solar system and U.S. Battery AGM batteries for energy storage

Not many of us can pack up our van and head out onto the open road for extended periods, but Traveling Troy is a blogger who converted his Chevrolet Astro Van into a camper and is now enjoying the van life. “From the beginning of the build, I knew I wanted to be unplugged from the grid as much as possible,” says Troy. “I knew solar would be my main source of power, but we (my Dad and I) also installed the ability to use stored power and a battery isolator for those rainy days.”

Troy had no idea how many solar cells and batteries he would need, so he began listing all of the electronic components and how often he would use them. “To determine how many watts of solar and the battery size needed, I listed all the power consuming items I planned to use while traveling,” says Troy. “This included my laptop, cellphone, gadgets, fridge, and others.”  U.S. Battery has an Interactive Energy Chart that helps determine battery storage requirements on the U.S. Battery websites. “We took the estimated watt usage from each of these items and determined how many hours or minutes a day I would use them,” he says. “This gave us an idea of maximum daily consumption.”

camper van power center Realizing how much power he was going to need, Troy says he figured to utilize as much of the van’s rooftop for solar panels. “It was decided that we would go as big as we could go with the limited space,” says Troy.  “That ended up being 300 watts of solar panels on the roof of the van and two 6 volt batteries with 210 amp hours inside the van.”

Troy decided to use U.S. Battery AGM deep-cycle batteries because of their compact size and because he wanted something maintenance-free. “We knew space was going to be limited in the small Astro van and every inch mattered,” says Troy. “The battery compartment was no exception.  We chose U.S. Battery AGMs because we wanted a deep cycle battery that was reliable, maintenance free and spill proof.  The plan was to install the batteries in the back corner of the van and build around them.  The area above the batteries and around the batteries was valuable build space.  Two years later, and the U.S. Battery AGM batteries are still going strong.”

The solar system installed in his camper van is a custom build, but many of the pieces are readily available. “Our solar systems consist of Three Renogy 100 watt Monocrystalline solar panels run in parallel to a Renogy PMW solar controller which charges two 6-volt AGM 2000 batteries from U.S. Battery,” says Troy. “All the components are neatly packed into our ‘Power Center’ which uses what would normally be wasted space around the back passenger wheel well of the van.  Some of the components include a 200-watt inverter, 12-volt cigarette plug, shore power breaker and shore power battery charger.”

power center 2 (1)So far, the system has worked well and Troy has had enough power to live out of the van and explore the country. “I’m in the third week of a 3-month road trip and it has been really amazing being on the road full-time and living out of the van, off the grid,” says Troy. “My plan is to explore Arizona and visit the Grand Canyon for my birthday.  Then I’ll be exploring Southern Utah and the Mighty Five National Parks.  Finally, I’m hoping to meet up with my dad and step-mom in Colorado while they’re on a road trip.”

Troy chronicles his trips and the continuous build-up of his camper van on his social media pages, travelingtroy.com. Additional information and videos on the camper van build are on Troy’s YouTube page. www.youtube.com/c/Travelingtroy.

 

 

 

A Bright Future For Solar In California

Home Developers Gear Up For A Surge In Solar Panels And Battery Storage

In May of 2018, California passed a law requiring new homes to have solar power. While the law won’t take effect until 2020, builders are gearing up for what may be a surge in solar panel and equipment sales. While consumers fear the added solar systems will cause housing costs to skyrocket, advocates say that the extra costs will more than make up the cost in lower energy builds.

In a New York Times article, (California Will Require Solar Power for New Homes, May 29, 2018), sources say that the state is looking for alternative ways of energy production, which raises many questions as to how much of the solar energy collected will be put back into the local power grid, and how will rates change for solar and non-solar homes.

According to the Times, the increasing use of “smart” meters will help calculate costs and control consumption rages, but many homeowners are also looking into utilizing battery storage to offset peaks and valleys during high use periods. Battery storage is a popular way to efficiently utilize energy from solar and wind systems in rural off-grid areas, where solar systems output more than enough power during the day and charge batteries for use at night. Businesses often use battery storage to level out times of high energy demand and have seen dramatic cuts in their electric bills.

Most developers such as KB Homes, say that new home buyers will have a choice between buying the system outright (average cost is about $14,000) or lease the system with a monthly payment (on average $70 to $80 a month).  According to the California Energy Commission, the added cost of the solar system will add about$40 to an average monthly payment for a 30-year mortgage. While customers are offered an option, the overall hope is that the state can generate enough power for the millions of homes that are currently not on solar.

U.S. Battery’s 12VRX XC2

US Battery’s 12VRX XC2 is a popular choice for 12-volt deep cycle batteries used in a variety of applications. Originally designed for the 48-volt EZGO RXV vehicles without watering systems, the 12VRX has become popular in many other 48-volt and 72-volt golf cars in addition to equipment in applications such as aerial work platforms, recreational vehicles, and floor cleaning machines.

US Battery developed the 12VRX as a substitute to the popular 12VXC battery in order to address the difficulty of manually watering the rear battery on RXV golf cars. The cell vents on the 12VRX are configured horizontally on the battery as opposed to the chevron or “V” shaped spacing of the 12VXC. This allows the battery to be manually watered in equipment where space is limited or where batteries are partially covered. In addition to being easier to water, the 12VRX also differs from the 12VXC in how it is lifted. The 12VRX contains lifting tabs on top of the battery that eliminates the need for the handles located on the ends of the 12VXC. This saves almost a full inch in length, allowing the 12VRX to be installed in tight compartments where the 12VXC does not fit.

While the 12VRX is only compatible with Battery Watering Technologies (BWT) watering systems, the 12VXC is compatible with both Flowrite and BWT watering systems. For RXV golf cars with existing watering systems, US Battery offers a third 12-volt deep cycle battery called the 12VXZ. This battery is designed to fit in the RXV vehicles and still be compatible with the OEM Flowrite watering kits. Of all three batteries, the 12VRX is the most universal in regards to fitment.

U.S. Battery’s 12VRX offers unique advantages for a variety of applications. Advantages include providing high capacity (155 Amp Hours at the 20-hour rate), the ability to reach peak capacity in fewer cycles than other batteries in its class, and the ability to provide the most total energy throughout the life of the battery. This premium battery is part of the company’s Endurance Plus™ line of batteries, designed to provide high value and optimum performance. U.S. Battery products are manufactured and assembled by hand in the U.S.A. See U.S. Battery’s full line of 12-volt deep cycle batteries here https://usbattery.com/products/12-volt-batteries/

 

 

 

Battery Powered Elevating Platforms May Soon Be Replacing Ladders

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The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that there were 268,731

Ladder/Stool fall injuries, in the U.S., requiring medical treatment in 2017

Ensuring employee safety is an ongoing concern, causing many employers to look at the use of traditional ladders and scaffolding in the workplace. These growing concerns have in turn led to an increase in demand for compact vertical lifts and smaller scissor lifts. An article in the May-June 2018 issue of Access, Lift & Handlers Magazine reported that vehicle manufacturers such as JLG, Skyjack and, Snorkel are making smaller, more compact vertical mast lifts and scissor lifts in response to the industry’s call for greater safety for workers who would normally use ladders and scaffolding on jobs of 18 to 25 feet.

These low-level lifts feature smaller footprints, tighter turning radiuses, and are lighter than typical Aerial Work Platforms. They are available in manually operated or self-propelled models, allowing them to access areas that would be difficult or impossible for other lifts. The Skyjack SJ12 & SJ16, for instance, have a zero inside turn radius and only weigh 1,720lbs. and 2,130lbs, respectively. And, they only need four 6v deep cycle batteries, like the US2200 XC2, to supply the necessary 24V for operation. Due to their versatility and stability, construction crews, facility managers, and consumers are quickly adopting vertical mast lifts; as a way to reduce the risk of injury on the job.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

U.S. Battery Helps The Boy Scouts of America Pony Express Council’s Spring Blast

The Pony Express Council of the Boy Scouts of America hosted its 8th Annual Spring Blast charity event. U.S. Battery was one of several sponsors who joined in the event and helped with its support that allows youth to participate in the quality character-education of the Boy Scouts of America.

The Spring Bash is a clay shooting event was held at the Geiger Shooting Range in St. Joseph, MO, where teams of four are challenged to shoot as many clays as possible to earn the highest total score. Individual teams and those made up of the Bash’s sponsors participated in several shooting events such as the 100 target team event, 5-stand, and others. For more information on the Spring Bash and the Pony Express Council, visit. www.ponyexpressbsa.org.

For additional information on U.S. Battery Manufacturing products that are made in the U.S.A., visit www.usbattery.com.